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Natural occurrence of Beauveria spp. in outbreak areas of cockchafers (Melolontha spp.) in forest soils from Poland

Niemczyk, Marzena, Sierpińska, Alicja, Tereba, Anna, Sokołowski, Karol, Przybylski, Paweł
BioControl 2019 v.64 no.2 pp. 159-172
Beauveria brongniartii, Melolontha melolontha, acidity, alkaline soils, biological control, biological control agents, genetic markers, genotype, insect larvae, internal transcribed spacers, pathogenicity, pathogens, soil pH, Poland
We investigated the occurrence and pathogenicity of Beauveria spp. (Hypocreales: Cordycipitaceae) in forest soils in Poland, in outbreak areas of cockchafers (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae): Melolontha melolontha L. and M. hippocastani F. We also examined the occurrence of Beauveria in relation to soil pH. Beauveria spp. isolates were characterised at species and genotype levels using ITS and microsatellite markers. Beauveria spp., which were detected at over 80% of sites, were sensitive to pH, preferring neutral or alkaline soils. This suggests that the acidity of forest soils in Poland can affect their efficacy as biological control agents (BCAs). B. brongniartii (Sacc.) Petch as a pathogen of cockchafers occurred at 41% of sites, but often at densities below the threshold values for infection, and it infected only 1.3% of cockchafer grubs. Our results suggest that B. brongniartii genotype isolated from cockchafers in forest soils can potentially expand the pool of BCAs in this environment.